Today’s an anniversary of sorts.
An ocean away, in Wales, MFA students at Cardiff School of Art and Design have until the end of Howard Gardens’ gallery hours to install their Master’s Exhibition. I was in their shoes one year ago. It is a stressful and rewarding time.
Today is also the day I tear down The Mailroom: 59 Love Letters. And I’m reading the above catalog entry, and realizing The Mailroom feels like a second, more successful iteration of my year old practice-led research.
Where ADX-7010 fell down, Mailroom seemed to stand up. In a nutshell, I needed more time to consider what Ernst Gombrich describes as, ‘the beholder’s share’. I didn’t need a lot more time – let’s not forget the black-hole-of-art-insecurity which straddled the period between late September, 2012 and the end of June, 2013 – but I needed a bit more time.
Because ADX-7010 gathered feedback from viewer/participants, I am privy to how those who chose to interact with the installation felt about the experience. For the most part, folks seemed to like it, but there was mass confusion. One person said, ‘I love this and I’m not sure why’ and while I can imagine that being exactly what one might be going for with a particular exhibition, feedback like this somehow didn’t feel like what I was hoping for.
The Mailroom was more successful. It elicited more interaction and some of that interaction was extremely interesting. Reactions seemed firmly rooted in viewer/participants’ own experience and folks seemed to know exactly why they loved or hated it. There were no namby-pamby-I’m-not-sure-whys.
The Mailroom came closer. You probably need two years to properly process an MFA, to know which questions to ask. Maybe I had more support on native soil. Maybe I just lucked out.
Or maybe it’s true that all endings are beginnings. I guess if you got it right the first time, you might not want to do it again. And that would be a fucking catastrophe.